Policies cannot make up for lack of leadership . . .

I am worried about the state of politics in the US (and elsewhere as well). It appears to me that our two political parties, Republicans and Democrats, have over the past several decades become more and more negative and contentious towards each other to the point of there being far too much shouting and not nearly enough listening. And they have definitely forgotten the fact that it’s about the wellbeing of the people and the country, not their candidate being reelected or their favorite pork-filled bill.

I read a recent article that one solution is to introduce a Third Party to offer an alternative to our current two parties that seem so much alike in their anger and self-centered behavior.

After over 35 years of consulting in the field of turnarounds and organization effectiveness my conclusion is that structural change (think a reorganization) and policy changes cannot make up for a lack of leadership. The only way to achieve sustainable organization effectiveness is to have courageous and selfless leaders at all levels who will make decisions in the best interests of the customer, not their own bank accounts or their own business functions. And with that kind of leadership behavior, employees become inspired and accountable and markets take notice.

I know there are courageous and experienced leaders out there. They are in all disciplines, public and private and they are effective. So my question is: why aren’t they running for office and making a difference? Why do we seem to be fielding self-centered politicians who seem focused on doing whatever it takes to get reelected? Leadership is not about pleasing everyone, that’s impossible, and it’s not always about minimizing pain and upset. Real political leadership is about building a sustainable future by making real choices today.

And we can’t have just one leader from one party. This country, like many companies, is incredibly complex and the solutions are beyond one charismatic and courageous individual. We all need to step up to our full leadership responsibilities and work together as one United States of America.

“I fear, gentlemen, that unless we hang together we will surely all hang together.” Benjamin Franklin

Tight Lines . . .

About johnrchildress

John Childress is currently Visiting Professor in Strategy and Culture at IE Business School in Madrid and a pioneer in the field of strategy execution, culture change, executive leadership and organization effectiveness, author of several books and numerous articles on leadership, an effective public speaker and workshop facilitator for Boards and senior executive teams. In 1978 John co-founded The Senn-Delaney Leadership Consulting Group, the first international consulting firm to focus exclusively on culture change, leadership development and senior team alignment. Between 1978 and 2000 he served as its President and CEO and guided the international expansion of the company. His work with senior leadership teams has included companies in crisis (GPU Nuclear – owner of the Three Mile Island Nuclear Plants following the accident), deregulated industries (natural gas pipelines, telecommunications and the breakup of The Bell Telephone Companies), mergers and acquisitions and classic business turnaround scenarios with global organizations from the Fortune 500 and FTSE 250 ranks. He has designed and conducted consulting engagements in the US, UK, Europe, Middle East, Africa, China and Asia. Currently John is an independent advisor to CEO’s, Boards, management teams and organisations on strategy execution, corporate culture, leadership team effectiveness, business performance and executive development. John was born in the Cascade Mountains of Oregon and eventually moved to Carmel Highlands, California during most of his business career. John is a Phi Beta Kappa scholar with a BA degree (Magna cum Laude) from the University of California, a Masters Degree from Harvard University and was a PhD candidate at the University of Hawaii before deciding on a career as a business entrepreneur in the mid-70s. In 1968-69 he attended the American University of Beirut and it was there that his interest in cultures, leadership and group dynamics began to take shape. John Childress resides in London and the south of France with his family and is an avid flyfisherman, with recent trips to Alaska, the Amazon River, Tierra del Fuego, and Kamchatka in the far east of Russia. He is a trustee for Young Virtuosi, a foundation to support talented young musicians. You can reach John at john@johnrchildress.com or john.childress@theprincipiagroup.com
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